The Czech Republic has announced that they are enacting a plan to strengthen the Czech Embassy to Israel during the first half of 2021, according to an announcement published by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The new measures will allow a diplomat from the Czech Embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv to reside in Jerusalem.
The services that will be offered by this new position are limited, as it is not a new diplomatic mission opening in the country. However, some services will be provided by the extension of the current diplomatic mission to Israel.
“In practice, in addition to the honorary consul, but a diplomat from the Czech Embassy in Tel Aviv will reside in Jerusalem. It is not the case of opening a new diplomatic mission. Based on their position, the honorary consuls can help the Czech citizens in need only in a limited way. It is an honorary, unpaid function without a complex diplomatic authority. For example, to get an emergency passport, the Czech citizens currently have to travel to Tel Aviv. By opening the new office, they could also apply in Jerusalem,” the announcement reads.
The goal of extending the Czech Republic’s diplomatic mission to Israel is to strengthen Czech-Israeli ties and to better assist Czech citizens living and traveling to Israel.
The mission’s extension comes “With the goal to further strengthen the Czech-Israeli relations as well to facilitate the services of the MFA to the Czech citizens living in or travelling to Israel, an office of the Czech Embassy in Tel Aviv seated in Jerusalem will be opened,” the announcement reads.
At the time of writing this article, the Czech Republic is represented by four diplomatic entities in Israel: the embassy in Tel Aviv and three consulates in Jerusalem, Eilat, and Haifa. The new mission extension will likely broaden the services offered in Jerusalem.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlights that the importance of strengthening bilateral ties with Israel are in large part due to an increased trend in the travel sector between the two countries.
Israel is among the top 20 countries whose citizens visit the Czech Republic the most. In addition, there is a growing trend in Czech citizens traveling to Israel. The number of Czech citizens who visited Israel in 2016 doubled in 2019, from 17,000 visitors to roughly 34,000 visitors.
“An important topic in bilateral relations is an increasing trend in the travel sector. Visitors from Israel are in the TOP 20 countries visiting the Czech Republic. Over 160 thousand visited the Czech Republic in 2019. An average length of their stay (about four days) is among the longest. Also growing is the interest of the Czech visitors in Israel. While 17 thousand Czechs visited Israel in 2016, the number doubled in 2019,” the announcement reads.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also notes that the extension of their diplomatic mission to Israel “is not related to the ongoing peace process in the Middle East.” The mission is separate from the peace process and the Czech Republic has not changed their position regarding that process.